Jhudora's Revenge: Part Three
"I heard that Lady Tenebrae has been appointed as a council member of Altador."
"Did she use forbidden magic to force the council to elect her?"
"I heard that she saved King Altador from certain death by slaying the beast that was about to fell him."
The Faerie Academy was abuzz with activity that particular day. King Altador had just made an announcement in the Neopian Times and it was becoming the talk of every town and city. The Faerie Academy was no exception.
I picked up a copy of the Neopian Times and read.
"In recognition of her mastery of the Shadow Plane and her outstanding bravery and willingness to help a fellow Neopian in need, the Altadorian council has deemed her worthy of bestowing the highest honour of our land. I hereby announce the appointment of our newest council member, Lady Tenebrae of Faerieland, and bestow upon her the title of 'The Sleeper'. With her appointment, I hope that we would be able to foster better ties with the dark faeries."
A sense of elation came over me. This would be a great step towards the vindication of dark faeries from the many unfair accusations that we have endured over the centuries. Surely a faerie with such noble intents cannot be evil.
To congratulate Lady Tenebrae on her new appointment, I had picked the largest and prettiest spectral flower from my mother's garden as a gift. It was a rare but essential ingredient used in many potions and I was certain that she would find many uses for it. Holding the flower carefully in my hand, I made my way to Lady Tenebrae's tower to offer her my well wishes.
Our days of being treated as lesser faeries may finally be coming to an end!
"I don't know what trickery you resorted to, Tenebrae, but you cannot hope to fool me."
"I slew the beast because it was about to attack a defenceless Neopian. I wasn't aware that the injured Neopian was King Altador himself."
"A likely story! I'll be watching you, Tenebrae, don't you forget that." With that, Lady Siyana disappeared in a brilliant flash of light.
A sudden wave of hatred hit me. Why was Lady Siyana bent on twisting the pure intents on dark faeries? It was not fair of her to condemn the entire race of dark faeries because of the damage wrought by a few dark babaas. Lady Tenebrae has proven herself to be a faerie of noble intent, yet Lady Siyana still sought to sully her reputation. It suddenly occurred to me that perhaps my saviour too was not spared from the prejudiced eyes of the other faeries. I felt a surge of admiration for Lady Tenebrae.
"You may come in now, Jhudora," Lady Tenebrae called out.
Jumping back in embarrassment, I peeled my eyes away from the keyhole and stepped into the room. Lady Tenebrae was seated behind her oaken desk and a smile spread across her weary face when she saw me.
"Congratulations on your appointment, Lady Tenebrae!" I said enthusiastically, eager to diffuse the tension from the room. "I brought you this spectral flower from my mother's garden. I hope you will find some use for it."
"Thank you, Jhudora," Lady Tenebrae replied as she conjured a vase out of thin air and placed the flower in it. "This will prove most useful."
I took a bow and turned to leave when Lady Tenebrae called out again.
"Jhudora, I have no doubt that you overheard our debate just now," Lady Tenebrae started wearily. "But do not blame Lady Siyana for her cautiousness; she was merely doing her job as a Protector of Altador."
"But My Lady!" I said indignantly. "You have already proven yourself to be trustworthy and that's why you have been granted the position of Protector of Altador as Lady Siyana had!"
"Well, I have to confess that I am not exactly fond of Lady Siyana." Lady Tenebrae winked. "But this mutual distrust between light and dark faeries is ingrained in our very nature. Dark and light faeries as different as Terror Mountain and the Lost Desert and is it any wonder that we clash so often?"
An image of the Snowager melting like a Chia Pop in the middle of the Lost Desert came to my mind and I giggled.
"No, it isn't," I chuckled. "I'll try to be more accommodating of light faeries from now on."
Lady Tenebrae gave me an amused look and said, "You do that, Jhudora. Remember, no matter how much good we dark faeries may do in the future, others would still be suspicious of us because of what our kind has done in the past."
I took Lady Tenebrae's words to heart. Bearing the promise which I had made to my mother, I was extremely cautious whenever I practised my magic, making sure to shield my ears from the hushed whispers in the Shadow Plane. The effort required to shield myself was great initially and I had to recite the incantation aloud. As time went by, the whispers receded until they became a meaningless background drone and I was able to cast my spells without verbalising the incantations.
My potion-brewing skills also improved tremendously under Lady Tenebrae's guidance. My potions became many times more potent than when I had first started out. A single drop of my Vanishing Potion was enough to render a Grarrl invisible for a full day. Because of the potency of my potions, they became sought-after among battledomers, much to the chagrin of the other faeries.
Lady Tenebrae devoted much of her time to her council duties. Often, the lights at her tower would be lit until past Count Von Roo's waking hour. During her free time in the Academy, she could often be seen brewing potions after potions and imbruing charms with protective powers.
"The city of Altador experiences monster attacks on a regular basis," she explained. "My charms and potions enable the Altadorians to travel out of the city safely and undetected."
Lady Tenebrae was determined to eliminate all the beasts that roamed the plains around Altador and she went on regular hunting trips to help bring down the numbers of the beasts. The monsters were rumoured to be unlike any other creatures to ever roam Neopia. Being a young faerie with a yearning for adventure, I got to see one of the beasts myself after much persuasion and cajoling on my part.
"Be quick on your feet and nimble with your wand," Lady Tenebrae cautioned. "They attack in packs and I may not be able to watch your back all the time."
"I will," I replied with confidence.
I hid behind a large oak tree, my right hand gripping my wand tightly while my left hand closed around a bottle of Fire Potion. I could feel my heart hammering in my chest as I tucked my wings in, hoping to conceal more of my form behind the tree.
"Don't worry," I assured myself. "Lady Tenebrae is here and there is nothing to fear."
The silence of the night was pierced by a monstrous roar unlike any that I have heard before.
I peeked out from behind the tree and I felt apprehension for the first time.
A huge black creature slithered out of the darkness. With rows of razor-sharp teeth and two deadly claws on each arm, it looked like a demonic parody of the common Grarrl, except that this monster was nearly twice the height of the average faerie and it towered over me. As it moved closer to our hiding spot, the moonlight reflected off the scales of the monster, revealing its heavily-muscled body. It paused for a moment and sniffed the air. I held my breath kept as still as I could.
Suddenly, the creature let out a huge roar and charged towards our hiding spot. It must have caught our scent!
"Now!" Lady Tenebrae shouted.
Adrenaline took over and I flew out from behind the tree, aiming for the creature's eyes. I aimed for the creature's eyes and prepared to blind the beast with the Fire Potion. The creature must have sense what I was about to do and raised a terrible claw before swiping in my direction. I gave a little cry and swerved to the right as fast as my wings could take me. I had barely missed the claw as it slashed the air beside me with a hissing sound. In my haste, I lost my grip on the potion and it fell to the ground and smashed into pieces. A few drops of the fiery liquid struck my wings and I hissed in pain.
Before I could recover, I saw a blur of motion heading towards me. I tried to cast Temporal Leak in a desperate attempt to slow down the creature's attack, even as I knew that my spell would not work in time. Suddenly, a ball of purple flames erupted out of nowhere and hit the creature in the chest with full force, sending the beast reeling backwards and saving me from certain death.
I turned around and saw Lady Tenebrae hovering in the air, her face contorted into a mask of great fury. For the first time that night, I noticed that she was not carrying her staff with her. Instead, her fists were ablaze with balls of fiery purple flames.
It was then that I realised the true extent of Lady Tenebrae's powers. Only faeries who have acquired complete mastery of all the elements may cast spells without the use of a wand, staff or sceptre. Not even Queen Fyora was known to have that ability.
With my courage bolstered by the knowledge that I was in the company of one of the most powerful faeries in Neopia, I closed the distance between myself and the beast. Taking advantage of its confusion, I summoned a bolt of lightning from the Shadow Plane and struck the creature between its eyes, momentarily blinding it. The beast stumbled backwards and shook its great head back and forth, trying to clear its vision.
A white lance of pure light erupted from the creature's chest. The creature gave a final roar of agony as it crumpled to the ground, defeated. Lady Tenebrae extinguished the lance and took my hand.
"Let's call it a night."
To be continued...